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My Hero Academia Vol. #20 Manga Review

3 min read
Gentle Criminal takes a solid enough volume and makes it something great.

A stunning finale to an incredibly charming little arc!

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Kohei Horikoshi
Translation: Caleb Cook

What They Say
With All Might in retirement, Endeavor takes up the mantle of the number one hero, a position he’s coveted for years. But now that he has it, he’s not entirely comfortable with the responsibilities and risks that come with it—both heroes and villains are always gunning for number one. What does the future hold for Midoriya, and what do his dreams about One For All mean?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
We pick up this time around right in the midst of Deku’s fight with Gentle Criminal. It soon seems like that won’t last much longer, though, as our hero quickly gets the better of the villain. However, it’s then that La Brava unleashes her power: a boost in strength to someone she has feelings of love towards! And while the fight was fun up until now, it really kicks into overdrive here, as we get the backstories to the pair of opponents as they grow more and more desperate. I think what makes it so truly enjoyable is that frankly, it’s the kind of development and flow that you don’t generally see given to villains. The quirky duo already felt sort of like the underdogs to begin with, and you really can’t help but root for them throughout! Then to top it off, it not only gets a really solid finish, but we also get a surprisingly great end to the culture festival part of the plot too!

Once all that’s out of the way, though, the focus is on the updated hero rankings! Of course this means we get a fun look at some characters we haven’t really seen much from before. But more importantly, it brings the focus on the top two heroes in particular. Coming in at number two is Hawks, and he certainly seems like a pretty fun addition to the cast. In addition to his surprisingly versatile power set for a “guy with wings” type character, he also has a real intriguing personality that makes him a very definite contrast to our new number one. Speaking of which, unsurprisingly Endeavor ends up sliding into the top spot. On top of that, we seem to be getting something of the start of a redemption arc here for him, too. And… I’ll admit I’ve got some hesitation about that, as he’s got an awful deep hole to dig himself out of. Still, hopefully it can be pulled off well!

At any rate, Hawks and Endeavor end up getting together with the purpose of discussing the matter of the Nomu. And in a bit of interesting timing, a high-end monster of a Nomu suddenly comes literally crashing in on their meeting. Seeing how this beast not only possesses a ton of powers but also the ability to think for itself and even talk, can even the new top hero possibly take it down?

In Summary
As with last time around, Gentle Criminal takes a solid enough volume and makes it something great. Him and La Brava step things up even further in the back half of their story that we get here, and frankly, you may even end up rooting for them instead of our hero before things are through! And on top of that, even the ending to the culture festival steps it up another level, bringing the whole short arc to a simply wonderful close! On the other hand, the rest of the book is perfectly solid, but just can’t live up to what came right before it. Still, the stuff with Gentle Criminal and La Brava more than makes up for that and makes this volume an absolute joy to read, so be sure to give it a look, as you’re likely to positively fall in love with the pair of underdogs!

Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
MSRP: $9.99

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